Our obligatory photos in front of yet
another church show my scowling face,
angry at you again, while in my picture
of you, your burnished cheeks are
illuminated by the afterglow of Sacré Coeur

dusky with the glimmer of a thousand candles,
some aspiring to heaven, reaching upwards
with long white fingers, some cowards
yearning for the relief of dissolution,
slipping back into pools of hot wax.

What I remember of Sacré Coeur
is the singer out front whose Chevalier
tunes are churned out for tourists like me
who want their foreign culture to remain
within the realm of the familiar.

But you remember the massed candles
burning needlessly on a bright afternoon,
their light unnecessary in the dazzling glow
of a gigantic golden Christ who blinded me
to the flames leaping from your eyes.

Toni La Ree Bennett graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle. Her work has appeared in Poemmemoirstory, Puerto del Sol, Hawaii Pacific Review, Journal of Poetry Therapy, and Viet Nam Generation, among other publications. She is also a photographer and lives in Seattle with a flock of feisty finches.